Military DREAMers join House Members
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to Call for Immigration Reform This Year
Today, military DREAMers - undocumented youth who aspire to serve the United States in uniform but are prohibited from doing so due to their immigration status - joined Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D - IL), Congressman Mike Coffman (R - CO), Congressman Jeff Denham (R - CA), and Congressman Joaquin Castro (D - TX) to call on Congress to bring immigration reform legislation to a vote this year.
The 16 DREAMers from across the country came together to advocate for the opportunity to serve the United States - the country they call home - in uniform, and to advocate for better lives for their families, neighborhoods, and communities. The hardworking DREAMers shared their individual stories and made the case that their service would help strengthen our military, boost our national security, and enhance our military readiness.
“I want to serve my country to show how grateful I am for all it has provided me,” said Jose Patino, a military DREAMer from Arizona. “Please let me show America how grateful I am for all the opportunities this country has given me; let me serve my country."
“To be able to serve the only nation I call home is now is my biggest dream. I know that this is what I was meant to do. I only ask for a chance to prove that I am just as American as anybody else who was born here,” said Alina Cortes, a military DREAMer from Texas.
Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D - IL) said, “With so many youth in our community encouraged to go down the wrong path, we should be helping young men and women who want to go down the right path. Rather than building barriers to their service, we should be incorporating immigrants more fully into our society, nurturing them as future leaders, and helping their families thrive for the good of us all.”
Added Congressman Mike Coffman (R - CO), “I have a combined 21 years of military service between the Army, the Army Reserve, the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve, and I believe that the young people who were brought by their parents to this country as children, who grew up here, who went to school here, and who know of no other country besides the United States should have the opportunity to serve this country in the Armed Forces and to earn a path to citizenship from their service.”
“The inspirational young people gathered here today hope to perform the ultimate act of patriotism. Their devotion to our great nation – the only one they call home – is clear, and they should be allowed to serve and earn legal status through their sacrifice,” said Congressman Jeff Denham (R - CA).
“The Deferred Action policy has allowed many young DREAMers to live, study, and work in this country without the fear of deportation. However, we must ensure that the doors of opportunity are not closed to them as they strive to get ahead,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio). “As Congress works on comprehensive immigration reform, I’m proud to introduce an amendment to the Defense bill to allow these young people to have the opportunity to apply to our military service academies and eventually serve as leaders in the only country they have ever known. I’m hopeful that expanding opportunities to all of our students, especially those who would sacrifice to protect our freedoms, is a cause championed by all my colleagues.”